Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
July 4, 2010                                "The dangers of a fruitless life !"

Sun Am Worship                                       "A Lying Fig Tree"

Text: Matt 21: 17-20 (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                            "Nothing is Hidden from God"
Matthew 21:17-20

Happy Birthday America! Isn't c country in which we live? After all, only in America do people order large double cheeseburgers, large fries and a DIET coke. Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our junk in the garage. Only in America do we use answering machines to screen calls and have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place. & Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.


Last year we said, 'Things can't continue on like this', and they didn't, they got worse.

It appears the only difference between death and taxes now is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

 

ILL.- Do you ever wonder what all happens on an average day in the U.S.? According to American Way, two statisticians who have spent much time studying the matter have concluded that on a typical day in this country:
- 5,962 couples marry and 2,986 divorce
- drunk drivers do $18 million worth of damage
- 90 million cans of beer are consumed
- 2,740 teenagers get pregnant
- 63,288 cars crash killing 129 people
-Between  3,200 and 4,100 women have abortions Every Day!

  

Matthew 21:17   And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

Matthew 21:18   Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

Matthew 21:19   And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Matthew 21:20   And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

                                                    " Let us Pray"

 "Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,' but that's exactly what we have done and are continuing to do.

 We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.
"We confess that: We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism. We have endorsed perversion, placed it behind your sacred pulpits and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it a choice. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have polluted the airwaves with profanity and called it freedom of expression.

"Search us, O God, "For nothing is hidden from you"  know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free

 

INTRO
A. No one likes A Liar! And the book of revelation

Revelation 21:8   But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


1. There was a world renowned theologian and philosopher several years ago who used a story to illustrate this point.
2. It was a story about a monkey and a coon dog.
3. This world famous theologian's name was Jerry Clower..maybe you've heard of him?
4. Story.

You know the story how the monkey searched through the tree with the flashlight limb by limb with his pistol in his hand and then upon realizing they wasn't no coon in that tree the monkey came down put that pistol to ole Cletus's dogs head and pulled the trigger. After Cletus questions why he would have done something like that the owner stated they ain't but one thing that monkey hates worse that a coon and that's a lying coon dog.


B. God's Word tells us that even God hates a liar!
Pro 6:16-17 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: (17) A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

2. What is it about lying that repulses us like it does?
a. It tears down trust!
b. It insinuates we are not intelligent enough to handle truth.
c. It takes what we believe to be truth and destroys it.
d. It is hurtful..sometimes demeaning..and always ugly.
e. It is from Satan himself!
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

3. Here we discover Jesus was not too fond of the practice either, as we look at His encounter with a lying fig tree!.
 But take a hard look at the deception of the fig tree and understand why He withered the tree, and also understand the lesson behind it.
7. Everything Jesus did was to teach the disciples a Spiritual lesson.
8. To understand what Jesus wanted to teach the disciples and us, we must look at the fig tree from Jesus' perspective!

C. The tree promised fruit, but did not deliver!
1c. It is beautiful from all outward appearances..
d. Even though it is not the time for figs, it says..come to me and I will satisfy you. A lot of Churches are doing this same thing! Empty promises.
e. It draws Christ towards it promising fruit.
2. Here is the problem..there was no fruit.
a. The fig tree is different from other fruit trees.
b. It puts on its fruit first..then the leaves come.
c. For a fig tree to have leaves..it was supposed to have fruit..but it did not.

2 Timothy 3:1   This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 Timothy 3:2   For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

2 Timothy 3:3   Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

2 Timothy 3:4   Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

2 Timothy 3:5   Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

Matthew 7:16   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes

of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 

1. This ought to have an immediate impact on all who come to realize this.
a. All of those who have been redeemed ought to be bearing fruit!

Mat 7:17-18 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Rom 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Joh 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

a. The secret to producing good fruit lies in staying attached to the vine.
b. The moment a fruit is detached from the vine it begins to decay and rot.
c. It's growing is finished!

 Jesus will come looking for fruit.

II When Jesus looks for fruit, He looks among the trees that are SUPPOSED to be bearing!
a. Will He find fruit when He comes, or unsatisfying leaves?

b. Notice what Mark says in his gospel.

Mar 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.

2. The fig tree's deception lies in its appearance.
a. It advertised, if you will..fulfillment..nourishment..plenty.
b. When we say we are a Christian, we ADVERTISE the same things.
c. People have a right to expect to find in us the proofs that we are what we say we are.
d. They have a right to expect to see in us the fruit(s) of the Spirit.

Gal 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

f. We have to be careful about who we say we are because sometimes our actions speak louder than our words!

1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

3. This should also serve as a dire warning to our churches and the religionists of our day.
a. The religious leaders of Jesus' day were identical to the fig tree.
b. They outwardly proclaimed they had the answers.
c. They proclaimed that salvation lay in the keeping of the law.
d. They looked religious.
e. They acted religious.
f. They even claimed victory..their claim..they were the pure sons of Abraham.
g. Look what Jesus said about them..

Mat 23:27-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (28) Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

h. This same description can be said of many churches and religions today!
i. But rest assured and be aware of this one thing..

III What is to be expected will be Inspected!

Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

We love to call Jesus the Lord but we don't always do what He says.

 

1. There will come a time when Jesus Himself will inspect the tree for fruit.
a. Notice Jesus came near..
c. He seeks the fruits of His people..and inhabits their praises.

 Every professing Christian will be accountable to the Lord for the way in which we have lived, and for the fruit we should have bared.

IV The tree will be judged by the fruit IT bears or does not bear!

1. Just like the fig tree, we will be judged by what we produce.
2. Let me ask you today..if Jesus decided to inspect your tree today, what would He find?
a. Would He find a tree that has produced satisfying fruit?
b. Or a tree that's just full of leaves?
3. You see, we won't be judged by what we LOOK LIKE?
a. Or by what we sound like.
b. Or even by what we believe..
c. But by the fruit we have born.
4. I am fearful there are many today who are really not ready to have our fruit inspected.
a. It's easy to go to church.
b. Or to look like a Christian.
c. Or to talk like one.
d. But what about living the life..what about walking the talk.
e. Jesus says:

Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

As a Child of God we must be bearingt the kind of love true Christians should have in their heart for their fellow man.
b. Do we really have the compassion for others like Jesus did?
c. Or do we just feel sorry for them?
d. Do we really pray for them  Or do we just nod and say in word only..I'll be praying for you?
f. Do we love them??? Really???
g. I think if we showed the love of God in our hearts to those in this community this house would be full!!!
j. James said in:
Jas 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

What  James is saying, if you SAY you have faith, but it is a faith that does not move you to do good works, then it is a DEAD faith, and a dead faith does not save.
c. James says being saved is more than lip service..it is life service.
Isa 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me,

Then again in Mar 7:6 (talking to the Scribes and the Pharisees) as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

a. When He inspects the tree of our life..He will be looking for fruit..not just the appearance of fruit.

V The tree that is found to be fruitless, will be judged harshly!

1. Notice there are two things that happen to the fig tree! First, its ability to bear fruit is taken away from it! This can happen in many ways.

A. It can happen when our joy is taken away.
1. I have seen many a Christian who because of life circumstances seem to have lost their joy.
2. Once the joy of life is gone, they are no longer a blessing to anyone around them.
3. They become bitter, and often withdraw into their own world.

B. It can even result in our very life being taken away!
1. I know that our God is a God of Love, and I know that Jesus loved us enough to die for us, but I want you to know today that He is also a God of Judgment.

Joh 15:1-2 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

2. I want you to understand as God's people we have an awesome responsibility, and that is to show God's love to the world around us.
3. And it is a responsibility that I think all to often we take lightly..but He don't.
4. Notice in John 15:2 Jesus says ..those that beareth not fruit he TAKETH away!

 

5. And the ones that bear fruit He purges..or prunes..to make them more fruitful.
6. You see, there are times in our lives, even when we are bearing fruit, that He must prune us, or cut out that which is non-profitable, so that we may bear much fruit!
7. But it is far better to be pruned by the Lord, though sometimes it is painful..than to be taken away!

CONCLUSION

I The tree withers away..

1. Verse 20 tells us the disciples marveled at how quickly the tree withered.

Mat 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

2. The judgment of God upon our lives is both swift and sure.
3. Are we ready to be judged?
4. Are we ready for the Savior to check among our leaves?
5. Can we satisfy our Lord's hunger if we are called upon to do so?

II Are you putting forth leaves?
1. If you are proclaiming to be a Christian..
a. Is there fruit to back it up?

Old saying.. "If You were accused of being a Christian..would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

2. If we are putting forth leaves, we are proclaiming to the world.
3. I am the real thing.

Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them

4. I ask you this moprning..what are you known by?